Jack Thomas '23
Since this issue is the Student Voices Issue of The Exchanged, I thought I might voice some of my opinions on the recently released nominations for the 2023 Academy Awards. While I did not have enough time or space to go discuss every single category, I did manage to hit some of the highlights of this year’s nominations. I hope you enjoy.
The Nominees for Best Supporting Actor
Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”)
Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”)
Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”)
Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)
In my opinion, there is one supporting actor missing from this list: Death from “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”. Despite having less than ten minutes of screen time, Death strikes fear into the hearts of all members of the audience. His screen presence is immaculate. It's the way Death’s eerie whistle entraps all viewers into focusing on him. It’s the way he is shown to be an unceasing and relentless force that makes the audience realize he is a legitimate villain. And it is the way frightens Puss, and by extension each of us, that leads me to conclude that Death should receive the Oscar for best supporting actor.
The Nominees for Best Original Song
“Applause” from “Tell It Like a Woman,” Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
“Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick,” Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga and BloodPop
“Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler and Ludwig Goransson; Lyric by Tems and Ryan Coogler
“Naatu Naatu” from “RRR,” Music by M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric by Chandrabose
“This Is a Life” from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski; Lyric by Ryan Lott and David Byrne
In my opinion, the song most deserving of the Oscar for Best Original Song is “Fearless Hero” from the film, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”. The song is the kickoff to the movie and it sets the tone right. It establishes that Puss does not fear anything. He is a brave, swashbuckling, invulnerable, fearless, hero. Yet, we see Puss fearful for his life throughout the film. As he is cut down to his last life, Puss has to flee from Death. In these moments, Puss reaches his lowest of lows. He doubts his being a hero. He retires. So when he turns to face Death and the end of the movie, his fearlessness resonates strongly with the audience. And that is what makes “Fearless Hero” such a great song. Its subject, the fearless hero, bookends Puss’s journey to rediscover his identity.
The Nominees for Best Makeup and Hairstyling
“All Quiet on the Western Front,” Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová
“The Batman,” Naomi Donne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Camille Friend and Joel Harlow
“Elvis,” Mark Coulier, Jason Baird and Aldo Signoretti
“The Whale,” Adrien Morot, Judy Chin and Anne Marie Bradley
While this category is often overlooked by most casual moviegoers, I have thought a lot about which of these five nominees is most deserving to win Best Makeup and Hairstyling. And after much pondering it is my opinion that “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” should receive this oscar. Just do a quick google search for Puss and his magnificent beard. Need I say anything else?
The Nominees for Best Animated Feature Film
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar and Alex Bulkley
“Marcel the Shell With Shoes On,” Dean Fleischer Camp, Elisabeth Holm, Andrew Goldman, Caroline Kaplan and Paul Mezey
“Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” Joel Crawford and Mark Swift
“The Sea Beast,” Chris Williams and Jed Schlanger
“Turning Red,” Domee Shi and Lindsey Collins
Finally, the Academy got something right! “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is nominated for Best Animated Feature Film, and deservedly so. Puss in Boots soars well above the other animated films from this year. Its Spider Verse anime-esque animation style is a wonderful spectacle to see in theaters. Puss’s redemption arc allows the audience to root for the hero. And the villain, Death, might just be one of the greatest animated antagonists of this century. He drives the movie forward with each appearance. But more importantly, Death personifies a real force that humans reckon with constantly, and that makes Death truly, such a great villain. He sticks in the minds of the audience because Death was already there to begin with. It is my firm opinion that Puss in Boots should win Best Animated Feature Film at this year’s Academy Awards.